At 66 years old – and eligible for a bus pass – Debbie Harry’s onstage presence is captivating. Even though she’s traded in heels for slip-on loafers, her hypnotic voice gave the performance its distinctive charm. Having rocked the New York New Wave punk scene in the 70s, Blondie still know how to whip the crowd into a frenzy. Highlights included a cover of the Beastie Boys’ You Gotta Fight for Your Right to Party! and, of course, their closing encore of Heart of Glass.
Although Harry dominated the show, guitarists Tommy Kessler and Chris Stein’s front-stage solos reminded everyone that Blondie is a band and not just a one-man act. Meanwhile, drummer Clem Burke entertained the crowd with his throw-and-catch drumstick tricks.
Friends Electric were a lively supporting act while Little Boots deejayed on the River Terrace.
The backdrop of Somerset House created a unique atmosphere for the eclectic line-up. As students based at the King’s Strand campus next door, we may have become slightly immune to the building’s imposing design and impressive architecture. Yet lit up against the night sky, it proved a spectacular venue.
…Harry’s timeless energy…
Blondie’s heyday may have been in the 1970s, but no one failed to join in with hits like One Way or Another and Atomic. Much of the crowd was made up of generations born after 1975 – ourselves included – but their combination of old and new tracks, coupled with Harry’s timeless energy, meant that there was something to suit everyone’s tastes. Such a diverse crowd illustrates just how popular Blondie still is.
Blondie’s gig was part of the Summer Series that took place from 7 to 17 July, featuring a range of old and new talent. Other acts included Ellie Goulding, Professor Green and Imelda May. Blondie’s appearance was part of the band’s tour promoting their new album Panic of Girls, available for download now.